“I favor gay rights,” Mitt Romney told the Nashua Telegraph this morning, in response to a question about the Obama administration’s claims that the former Massachusetts govenrors has changed his position on LGBT equality issues:
ROMNEY: The story on same-sex marriage is that I have the same position on that, that I had from the very beginning. I’m in favor of traditional marriage, I oppose same-sex marriage. At the same time, I don’t believe in discriminating in employment or opportunity for gay individuals. So I favor gay rights, I do not favor same-sex marriage. That has been my position all along.
While Romney has opposed same-sex marriage as governor and took steps toward blocking town clerks from issuing licenses to out-of-state gay couples, Romney has walked a more moderate line on LGBT equality before announcing his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination. For instance, during his failed 1994 campaign for the Senate, Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans, “We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern,” promised to co-sponsor the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and even claimed that he would do more for the gay community than the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
In his 2002 campaign for governor, Romney struck a similar note, saying that “all citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation” and argued that “domestic partnership status should be recognized in a way that includes the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship.” His campaign even sent out a “Happy Pride” flier to the gay community.
Since then, Romney has backed away from a federal employment nondiscrimination law and has even signed-on to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM’s) anti-gay campaign pledge.